Matt Derenbecker’s top of the key three rimmed in-and-out and as Justin Martin corralled the rebound, he secured the Musketeers 28th straight victory (in the last 33 years) over the Flyers in Cincinnati.
Martin sank both free throws to ice the game for a 66-61 win Wednesday night over arch-rival Dayton. The Flyers have not beat Xavier in Cincinnati since Jimmy Carter was president.
Not only to Martin ice the game, but he made a quick defensive switch that kept Kevin Dillard from a corner three. Dillard passed to the wing and cut to the corner off the backscreen. Martin, the 6-foot-6 sophomore quickly switched and swarmed Dillard in the corner. Dillard found Derenbecker open at the top of key, as miscommunicaiton between two Xavier defenders left two guys on Dayton’s Jalen Robinson.
Derenbecker was one swing away from getting Dyshawn Pierre – who hit a big three late to put Dayton up 59-58 with 2:47 remaining – a wide open look but Derenbecker had a nice enough look and had connected on 3-of-4 from behind the arc before that shot.
The win for Xavier not only keeps its home winning streak against Dayton alive, it also puts the Musketeers back in the win column after consecutive conference losses to Charlotte and St. Joseph’s. Xavier moves into a tie with VCU for second place in the A-10.
Under two minutes to go, the game changed hands four times until Semaj Christon shot put the Musketeers up 62-61 with 60 seconds to go. Although Dayton was inches away from forcing an extra session, the Flyers were dominated on the board by Xavier. The Musketeers nearly doubled the Flyers on the board, 30-16 (14-9 offensive).
Dee Davis had 14 points to lead Xavier. Jeff Robinson added 12 and five rebounds, while Travis Taylor chipped in eight with a game-high 11 rebounds. Vee Sanford led Dayton with 16. Dillard added 12 and five assists
The battle of the Ohio foes headlined an exciting night for Atlantic 10 basketball as UMass went to Philadelphia and beat La Salle by one in the first game for the Explorers since knocking off Butler and VCU in consecutive games.